Chapter 8: A New Phase
I say Buddha is a poet, although he never composed a single poem. Still I insist that he is one of the greatest poets who has ever lived. He was not a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Kalidas, a Rabindranath - no, not at all. But still I say: Shakespeare, Milton, Kalidas, Rabindranath, are nothing compared to his poetry. His life was his poetry - the way he walked, the way he looked at things.
Just the other night I came across one of the most beautiful statements of Saint Teresa of Avila. She says: “All that you need is to look.” Her whole message is contained in this simple statement: All that you need is to look. The capacity to look - and you will find godliness. The capacity to hear - and you will find its music. The capacity to touch - and every texture becomes its texture. Touch the rock and you find godliness.
It is not a question of objects of art: it is a question of an inner approach, a vision - of seeing things artistically. And you have that quality! In fact, because of that quality you were bored by classical music and you were bored by galleries - because in an unconscious way, in a groping way, you feel something far superior inside you. But you are not yet fully aware of it.
Bypass art galleries and you will not be losing anything. But you cannot bypass the aesthetic layer of your being: you have to go through it. Otherwise you will always remain impoverished; something will be missing, something of immense value. Your enlightenment will never be total. A part of your being will remain unenlightened; a corner of your soul will remain dark, and that corner will remain heavy on you. One has to become totally enlightened. Nothing should be bypassed, no shortcuts are to be invented. One has to move very naturally through all the layers, because all those layers are opportunities to grow.
Remember: whenever I use the words music or poetry or painting or sculpture, I have my own meaning.
When Helen Keller, the blind woman, came to India, she visited Jawaharlal Nehru. She was blind, deaf. She touched Nehru’s face; with both hands she felt Nehru’s face, and she was immensely delighted. She expressed her great joy. She stated, “I have felt the same quality in Nehru’s face as I felt when I touched beautiful Roman statues - the same coolness and the same proportion and the same form.”
Now, this woman has the heart of a sculptor - blind, deaf, but she has the genius of a great artist. Because she was deaf and blind, she had to find new ways to feel life. And sometimes curses prove blessings. She would touch water, she would feel its coolness, its flow, its life, its vibe. You will never feel it, because you can see water; you can say, “What is there?” Because she could not see, she could only feel the texture of a rock. You can see and you will miss - you will not feel the texture of it.
Sometimes it is tremendously significant to close your eyes and just touch a rock, and feel as if you are blind and you have only hands and you have to use the hands as your eyes. And you will be surprised - you are in for a surprise. For the first time you will see that the texture has its own dimension.